How to do a Korean Bath House to Detox, get Silky Skin & Nurture your Gut
I love to frequent the Korean Bath House, a ritual the Korean’s have down…… these bath houses are open late, the one I attend in Irvine, iSpa, is open until midnight… which makes it easy to head over there in the evening, I usually head over there around 6:30pm or later after my workout.. Plan to eat dinner there and stay for at least 2 hours plus. Here is my routine to give you a road map to use as your guide. I wish I had this article to read before my first time there because I was totally lost the first several times I went… Korean Bath Houses can be found all throughout the US and of course everywhere in Korea. Most of them are open 24 hours.
Who to go with: This is a great place to go solo, with a friend or with your spouse.
What to Bring: Comfortable clean outfit to change into when completely done and easy shoes like flip flops.. I usually bring sweats. A brush and any face cream I like to apply before bed. When I walk out the door I am completely ready for bed. They offer tooth brushes and tooth paste.
Check in and Cost at front Desk: I either just pay for an all access pass $25, or previously booked a scrub/massage combo $85 (1 hour and 10 minutes) or a body scrub only $40 (35 minutes) which both includes the all access pass. They give you a bracelet with a numbered key and an outfit, baggie shorts and large T-Shirt (not flattering), when you enter your gender side, there are small lockers you put your shoes, then further in are the large lockers you put your street clothes and belongings in. Dinner is approximately between $9-$15 a meal, they charge your numbered key bracelet and you pay on your check out of the spa for food and beverages. I buy dinner and drink the free filtered water.
Common Coed Area: The baggie shorts and T-Shirt is for the common area where both men and women can go, that is where the cafe is as well as the lounge with heated floors to relax on, and several detox hot rooms and an ice room. You do not need to bring your wallet to the cafe, your bracelet with numbered key is all they need, they charge your number and you pay when you check out of spa. You will want to bring your water bottle (I bring a large water bottle from home and refill it with their free filtered water stations) and grab a few towels that are offered in your gender spa area to the common area and you can bring your cell phone to common area if you like as well.
Eating Dinner: The first thing I do when I get checked in is head to the cafe, I am a creature of habit and order the seafood tofu soup and/or the BBQ Pork, both are amazing and never disappoints, each meal is served with Kimchi/fermented food which is gut healing. They offer plenty of filtered water stations, I bring a tall water bottle and refill there.
Common Area Hot/Cold Rooms: Next I head over to the the hot rooms with my water bottle full, you will sweat a ton and drink a lot and a towel I grabbed from the women spa area to use to lay on under my head and to wipe off the sweat, I grab a few towels. I start in the Forest Room which will help refresh your body and clear your head, with forest aroma, aromatic wood exerts a chemical called terpene, which has various medicinal uses treating problematic skin and calming nerves. Suggested usage time is 10-15 minutes, then over to the Salt Room, you lay on Organic Himalayan Salt which pulls toxins out of your body, I stay in here about 5-10 minutes, Next Fire Room, HOTTEST Room, which is built using red clay bricks which exerts far-infrared radiation and produces minerals that cause a cathartic effect, which helps the body heal and eliminate waste… I am really sweating now and drinking lots of water in between these rooms, I then head over to the Clay Room, which is mildly warm and also exerts far-infrared heat great for detox, I do yoga stretches in this room, my muscles are loose and stretch easily….. feels sooooooo good! Then I end these rooms with the ICE Room which tightens my skin contracting blood vessels and helps eliminate waste! All of these rooms are coed and you wear the baggie shorts and T-Shirt they give you.
Gender specific Pool Area: In the specific women or men pool rooms, they are birthday suit required, no bathing suits allowed. 1st thing I do is shower, then sit in the hot pools, then the dry and wet sauna….which prepare your skin to be sloughed off, from there I do a full body scrub myself or enter into my scheduled body scrub they do for me…. if I schedule one, I arrive to the spa at least 1 hour before my appointment to allow time to eat and do the common area hot/cold rooms and then shower and sit in pools first.
The Scrub: There is a very specific scrub mitten they use and you can buy there if you do it yourself for just $3.. these mittens are the best scrub mittens ever! They take off ALL the dead skin leaving you so silky! You can buy the $3 scrub mitten at front desk. I end with my scrub either doing it myself or having it done for me…
Ice Cold Pool: I end all the above with a shower and then fully submerging in the ICE COLD pool a few times… It is shocking but WOW do you feel amazing after, there are so many benefits to Hot and Cold Water Therapy, like anti-aging by tightening the skin, reduces muscle soreness, improves detoxification, burns fat, promotes longevity and so much more, Dr. Mercola writes a good article on this here.
Wrapping up: From here I put my sweats on, brush my hair, moisturize, slip my flip flops on and check out… drive home and crawl into bed and sleep like a baby!